Montana Again

Montana Trip Two

I just got back from a whirlwind four day trip to Montana to pick up the car that I bought from my dad last summer. Michael Zheng went with me, which was a total treat. Our trip started off with a bit of a glitch that was rather humorous. We arrived at the airport on time, and we both got flagged for the Homeland Security screening (this is due to me, because for some reason I am now on the threat list -- I was also flagged in Colorado last time I visited Montana -- I find this totally amusing since I'm one of the most benign passengers traveling). Of course this all went smoothly and nothing was found to be a "dangerous risk."

We then had about 45 minutes until our flight left so we decided to get some breakfast at a cafe right next to our gate. Michael and I can talk and talk and talk, as was the case that morning. We got on the subject of politics (which we often do), which I can't remember now exactly what the discussion was, but all of the sudden I asked what time it was; Michael looked at his clock and said "we've got to go!" We left our money on the table and dashed next door to the gate, only to find that they had just shut the door and the plane was still sitting there, but they would not let us on. So there we sat for another 2 hours in SF. Later on the flight Michael read some article in the airline magazine that couples who are just starting to see one another, should avoid discussing politics ... touche!

We ended up arriving in Billings at 10:30 pm rather than 3:30 pm. My mother picked us up and we went back to her house and fixed Michael a whiskey, lemon, and honey drink since he was just starting to get a cold. We stayed up talking for several hours and went to bed. It felt great to lay in bed in front of the large screen tv and just snuggle after such a long day.

The next day we went to breakfast at Pugmahons, an Irish pub and cafe -- very yummy. We had planned to drive up to Red Lodge to visit my dad, but the weather was pretty crappy and it was already snowing up in the mountains.

So Michael and I took a drive up to the top of the rimrocks that look out over Billings and then went back home to hang with my mom. It was a really nice afternoon of sharing. She showed us her pictures from her trip to China last summer to visit my sister-in-law's parents (making Michael very homesick) and Michael shared his knowledge of each of the places she had visited. The funniest thing was that my mother, brother, sister-in-law (who's from China), and their son Ethan stayed in Building Number One when they were there, which is part of a large complex/city of nuclear physicists, which both of Hui's parents are. Michael and I cracked up every time she referred to Building Number One since it sounded so Kafkaesque.

We finished off the day going to dinner at the Granary and ordering a bunch of tapas -- very good. My mother adored Micahel -- "he's so intelligent, kind, and very good looking" (the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!) Michael asked my mother if I've always been "so progressive," to which my mother responded "Oh YES! she's a true redhead"

The next morning, my father drove down from Red Lodge to finish up the paperwork and spend some brief time with me and Michael. He and my mother were very worried about us getting caught in bad weather so they made sure that we were prepared with some old boots and heavy socks my dad found for Michael (luckily they have the same foot size), a big down parka for Michael (I luckily had already been given another whole new wardrobe from my mother so I was prepared), blankets for the car, water, and a bag of candy bars. So we were set!

Michael and I then headed to Borders to buy some CDs since we realized that we'd both forgotten to bring music for the 20 hour trip back. Our musical tastes are pretty diverse, but we introduced each other to new music that we both enjoyed.

Michael's pics (I loved all of these!):
Cesaria Evora, Voz D'Amor
Stan Getz and The Oscar Peterson Trio
Astor Piazzolla, Tango: Zero Hour
Miles Davis, Birth of The Cool
Julian Bream, The Ultimate Guitar Collection

My pics (Michael loved The Flatlanders and Jimmie Dale Gilmore so much that he wants to a documentary on Jimmie Dale):
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back
The Flatlanders, June 8th 1972
No Depression
Gordon Lightfoot
The Dixie Chicks, Home
Townes Van Zandt, A Gentle Evening with Townes Van Zandt
Nick Drake, Way To Blue
Glen Campbell, Southern Nights
The Essential Leonard Cohen

My next post will include some of the gems that I brought back.